Harry Kane scores a goal during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Spurs 4-1 Liverpool: playing over the press

Playing over the Reds’ press carved their defence apart as our Premier League clash finished Spurs 4-1 Liverpool at Wembley Stadium.

A counter attack approach achieved a positive result for the second time in a week. Tottenham had just 36% possession, but created havoc with the ball. Playing over the top of the Liverpool press got the rout rolling to put stress on a fragile defence. The ensuing errors were punished with ruthless efficiency as the match ended Spurs 4-1 Liverpool at Wembley Stadium.

Playing over the press

Mauricio Pochettino has too often tried to force our natural game on Liverpool and come up short. Having failed to beat the Reds as Tottenham manager, Pochettino finally had a change of tactics. The 5-3-2 counter attack system that has been so successful this season against pressing teams, such as Dortmund and Real Madrid, got another airing.

Pochettino went with the 5-3-2 formation once more during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Pochettino went with the 5-3-2 formation once more.

The speed of Liverpool’s closing down and transitions are what every opponent fears. As a result, Spurs didn’t dwell on the ball. One and two touch football was the norm. What’s more, a hefty 20% of Spurs passes were long.

The aim was to often clear the lines with a quick searching ball forward. The defence didn’t hang around when the pressing traps were closing in. The objective was to firstly evade Liverpool’s gang of tacklers. Secondly, to hit Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min in space. This prevented turnovers high up in our half, but more importantly, quickly put pressure on a fragile defence, which is frequently left exposed.

The result was balls over the top of Liverpool’s initial press that caused their defence to buckle.

Trippier over the top

Four minutes were on the clock as Tottenham took the lead from the first ball over Liverpool’s crowd of tacklers.

Spurs had already evaded their initial press to win a throw-in midway in the Reds’ half of the field. Hugo Lloris had sent a long searching pass towards Kieran Trippier that had eluded the first pressing wave.

The mass of Red defenders in his way made it difficult for Trippier to get the throw-in to one of his team mates. On receiving the return, Trippier was faced with an army of Red bodies that had squeezed in to condense the playing area on that side.

Trippier lobs the ball over the mass of defenders during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Trippier lobs the ball over the mass of defenders.

A first time chipped pass from Trippier as he received the ball back from Son caught the Liverpool defence too high and off guard.

A domino effect of errors ensued. Dejan Lovren tried to play Harry Kane offside without realising what was behind him. Joel Matip was too slow to react. Simon Mignolet then flew out of his goal, making it easy for Kane to dink the ball past him and finish. Spurs 1-0 Liverpool and Wembley had the start it craved.

Lloris goes long

The quick goal was a perfect start. The counter attack game plan was thus made more effective with Liverpool now having to play from behind.

A second goal was quickly added with another pass over the top of Liverpool’s press. The quick thinking of Hugo Lloris to hurl the ball downfield towards Harry Kane immediately eliminated any chance to press. What’s more, it instantly caused anxiety in the Liverpool defence once again.

Dejan Lovren buckled under the pressure once more. His attempt to win the ball in the air was rash and completely miss-calculated. Harry Kane had already picked up the flight of the ball, knew Lovren would miss it and set off in to the space.

Lovren misjudges Lloris long clearance; Kane does not during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Lovren misjudges Lloris long clearance; Kane does not.

The benefit of a second forward in Pochettino’s 5-3-2 system now came in to play. Favouring Fernando Llorente’s hold up presence against Real Madrid, Son Heung-Min was in the line-up for his speed to attack the spaces Liverpool would leave. The South Korean gave James Milner a head start, but his blistering pace and sprint stamina meant that he easily won the race. Kane unselfishly squared. Son coolly kept his head to slot home the second. Spurs were ripping through Liverpool like a Lilywhite tidal wave.

Son’s runs in-behind

Spurs had taken a two-goal lead from twice going over the top of any Liverpool attempt to press the ball. A third almost followed as the plan continued to wreak havoc amongst Liverpool’s defence.

Son continued to be a constant menace to Liverpool’s shaky centre backs. His runs in-behind could’ve seen him score further goals. Minutes after making it Spurs 2-0 Liverpool, Son rattled the bar as he almost added a third. Christian Eriksen’s lofted pass over the top picked out his run superbly.

Eriksen lofts the ball in-behind for Son's run during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Eriksen lofts the ball in-behind for Son’s run.

With a difficult bouncing ball, Son did incredibly well to keep his shot down. Two inches lower and the game could’ve been over inside 15 minutes.

Salah vs Serge

Liverpool’s one avenue of light was through the runs of Mohamed Salah. Mauricio Pochettino had positioned Serge Aurier to match-up foot speed with the lightning fast Egyptian, but our left back was having a tough time. Salah’s nippy runs and fleet feet gave Aurier issues.

Liverpool got back in the game from their usual game plan to press the ball and then quickly transition.

Harry Kane had gone against the grain by dribbling the ball out of defence. Tottenham had predominantly cleared long when closed down, but the striker had other ideas. Kane had done exceptionally well to evade three would be pressers. However, having done the hard part, he made the fatal mistake against Liverpool of dwelling on the ball. The net closed in on him and in trying to win a foul, turned possession over.

In the meantime, our defensive line had pushed up. The quick turnover suddenly caught us high and vulnerable to the quick pace of Salah. Jordan Henderson wasted no time in putting the ball in-behind our defence for his run.

Henderson quickly fires the ball in-behind for Salah during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Henderson quickly fires the ball in-behind for Salah.

Aurier and Vertonghen were beaten by the searing speed of the Egyptian. Hugo Lloris also feared his swiftness. Lloris is usually so rapid from his line to clear up, but strangely he didn’t back himself despite having a high starting position. Lloris retreated and Salah had the space he needed to tuck the ball in to the corner. Spurs 2-1 Liverpool and the party atmosphere was momentarily quelled.

The Dele Alli factor

Three goals from runs in-behind had seen the score at Spurs 2-1 Liverpool. In spite of a momentum shift, Spurs persisted with balls over or through Liverpool’s pressing.

Dele Alli became the key figure in the game. In a deeper midfield position, Dele started to pull the strings from his new role. Big chances ensued. Firstly, Dele played a sumptuous ball through several levels of Liverpool’s defence for Son Heung-Min’s run in behind the centre backs. Son, however, scuffed his shot as he tried to flick the ball with the outside of his right foot rather than use his left.

In the face of pressure from James Milner, Dele then lofted a rather more agricultural pass straight over the centre backs for Harry Kane’s run. Kane got much better contact than Son, but saw a recovering Dejan Lovren block his goal bound shot.

Dele Alli lobs the ball over the press for Harry Kane's run during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Dele Alli lobs the ball over the press for Harry Kane’s run.

Set piece special

Dele Alli’s passing had seen him become a dangerous factor in the game. His defensive anticipation and powerful runs with the ball would see him heavily involved in our third goal.

Once more Spurs went long over Liverpool’s initial press. Kieran Trippier hurled an incredibly long throw up the line from the edge of our 18-yard box to get out of the congestion in the corner and move the ball up to halfway.

Liverpool won the initial duel, but as Emre Can received play, Dele Alli stripped him of possession and set off on the break. Can had no choice but to bring him down, conceding the free kick.

Forced to defend, Liverpool collapsed under the pressure once more. On the stroke of half time, Spurs hadn’t sent any centre backs up for the set piece, merely three attacking players. Liverpool set up to defend as if we had. The Reds also had a ludicrously high line to defend a central free kick.

High line versus three attackers during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

High line versus three attackers.

Christian Eriksen dropped the ball over the top in to the oceans of space. Joel Matip went back and without a call from Simon Mignolet headed the ball up in the air. Dele Alli raced in and lashed it back in to the corner of the net. The goal was a huge blow. Tottenham rejuvenated, Liverpool visibly crushed.

Liverpool don’t learn their lesson

After the interval and the game was put to bed from another Spurs set piece. Misdirection was the Tottenham aim, but Liverpool errors were once more the talking point.

Tottenham had initially run a bunch of players towards the near post to draw the defence’s attention. The objective was to get Harry Kane a chance in the space behind them.

Overload of near post for Harry Kane's run in-behind during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Overload of near post for Harry Kane’s run in-behind.

Kieran Trippier had put the cross in to the perfect area, but Simon Mignolet came and only wafted the ball away. Mignolet’s poor clearance landed straight at Jan Vertonghen’s feet. Vertonghen was positioned as the clean-up man for anything through the six-yard box. He immediately riffled in a shot that was blocked on the line by a diving Roberto Firmino.

Harry Kane, who the initial free kick had been set up for, had stood still the whole time. Suddenly he was in space to control and fire home to make it Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Kane wheeled away in celebration, Jan Vertonghen held his head. Vertonghen has come so close on many occasions now that a goal for one of the most attacking central defence men has to be imminent.

Hugo Lloris

The game was virtually over, but Hugo Lloris pulled off a couple of top draw saves to stop any come back.

Spurs’ formation had set up to push Liverpool out wide to be a crossing team. The midfield diamond had positioned itself centrally and then shuttled across the pitch as the Reds were forced to the flanks.

The defensive effort of the players was enormous. At the extreme end we can see how focussed the team was in stifling the centre. All eleven players were narrow, within the width of the 18-yard box at times.

Narrow setup to force out of the middle of the pitch during Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.

Narrow setup to force out of the middle of the pitch.

Liverpool were thus pushed wide and kept from their usual neat passing through the inside channels. However, Hugo Lloris still had to be called upon with two superb saves following crosses.

Lloris’ first to deny Philippe Coutinho after a cross in to the box found Mo Salah was exceptional. Lloris then thwarted Salah with his feet after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had found him from a pull back. Serge Aurier got caught on the ball, which saw Oxlade-Chamberlain pounce and cut it back across the box.

Lloris’ quick, cat-like reactions kept the score at Spurs 4-1 Liverpool and thwarted any chance of a come back.

Spurs 4-1 Liverpool overall

Mauricio Pochettino continues to surprise with his line-ups. Serge Aurier at left back was an initial curve ball when the team sheets were handed in. Son Heung-Min’s inclusion as the second striker at the top of the midfield diamond ran the Liverpool centre backs ragged.

Previous Premier League visitors to Wembley have dropped off and made themselves tough to break down. Liverpool played in to our hands by pressing high and leaving their vulnerable centre backs exposed. Swift passes over their press to put stress on their centre backs proved to be their undoing.

Final score: Spurs 4-1 Liverpool.
MOTM: Harry Kane.

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29 Responses to Spurs 4-1 Liverpool: playing over the press

  1. Mark from Virginia 23rd October 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    Well said Mark!
    I have heard many comments about the “line up surprises”, but really – was it that surprising to have Aurier vs Salah? Made perfect sense to me! Salah was my biggest concern in this game – he has been terrorizing defenses in a manner similar to Mane and I think other than the goal Salah was relatively quiet.
    Having Dele in a stopper position was slightly surprising, but this is reminiscent of a couple seasons ago when he had much success in that position. I think this also made perfect sense when considering Dele’s lack of form in recent weeks and the quick strike counterattack strategy.
    Trips deserves a lot of credit as well. His first time passes are causing all kinds of problems for defenses. Anyone that thinks we should have kept Walker needs to reconsider!
    Incredible execution all around by Spurs – couldn’t be happier with there current form.
    Mark from Virginia

    • Chas 23rd October 2017 at 10:28 pm #

      Well said, both Marks!
      And I agree totally with you re Trippier. I thought he was outstanding in that first hour – almost every touch seemed to be a first-time ball behind the press. Very obviously playing to Poch’s instructions.
      The only downer from the game for me, if it is one at all, was Sissoko back to his bumble-footed ways after some excellent showings. But he IS improving, and adds pace, so we can live in hope!
      But isn’t it going to be interesting against Man U, who are looking to be suffering under their injury list and Mourinho’s stifling methods.
      Can’t wait!

      • Mark from Virginia 23rd October 2017 at 11:13 pm #

        Agreed, Sissoko is disappointing in the attacking third, but I have thought for a long time that he has been quite handy in the defensive third. Spurs always seem to close games out without much drama when Sissoko come on late. MU is going to be huge! COYS

      • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:26 am #

        Sissoko was back to being clumsy, but he’s done so well for the team recently that I’ll let it slide if he bounces back next game against the Hammers!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:23 am #

      Great comment Mark. Trippier has been very good and his delivery really gives opponents trouble. He seems to take Poch’s instructions on, which, like Davies, is why Poch likes him so much and why he continues to get in the team.

      Dele in that deeper role was interesting as it was where he used to play for MK Dons and initially us. A lot of TV pundits saying he’s better there than higher up, but I’m not 100% convinced and need to see a bigger body of work rather than a game where he scored against a poor defence pressing high. I think he plays so well dovetailing off Kane that having him deeper might destroy that one-two punch. We’ll see what happens…

  2. Matt 23rd October 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    Another clever tactical move; and glad to see Poch has a healthy respect for possession but isn’t obsessed by it. Wonder what rabbit we’re going to pull out of the hat for MUFC?!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:28 am #

      Looking forward to see if he can continue conjuring this lineup magic. Hopefully he walks that fine line without tipping towards outsmarting himself!

  3. ashley collie 23rd October 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    Superb analysis, Mark, thanks for returning, missed your insights. Interesting with Dier on bench and two starting CMs unavailable (Wanyama and Dembele), Poch dropped Winksy in as our deepest lying CM, and I wondered who would partner him. I’d heard Alli played there at MK Dons, and also in a couple of his first games for us (alongside Dier). And for most part he was the deeper of he and Eriksen, and got on the ball more, was more active, less tricks and dinks. Well done, Dele. Those missing lads, Wanyama and Dembele are a concern — will Sissoko and Dele play there more? Can Winksy do the job game in game out. It won’t worry Poch and staff, they just use the squad like an holistic, organic system. So proud to be an LA Spurs fan.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:33 am #

      Poch loves Dembele so I think we’ll see him back in once he’s fit. Winks has done well, but he’s not experienced a full season playing week in, week out, so I doubt if he will play every week. What’s more, as with all systems, once they’ve been seen, others will be focusing on how to break them down. I think some teams will try and rough Winks up, which is where Wanyama and Dembele come in.
      Poch certainly has options in central midfield with us spoilt for choice when all are healthy!

      • ashley collie 24th October 2017 at 3:16 am #

        Mark, you’re disregarding the possibility that our great Dembele has become our new sicknote and has a persistent injury problem that will not allow him to become a regular again, unfortunately. As for Wanyama, something not so good is up. So with those fellows continuing to be out, we’re not spoilt for choices — not that Poch would complain, he’d just get on with it. Some power in there is missing without them. Dier will be back there, soon. COYS! And keep up the great analysis, mate!

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 11:21 am #

          Dembele has had a lot of issues and it does seem as if his hip and foot problems are going to be an ongoing thing for the rest of his career. Very unfortunate as he is an absolute beast when on the field. I honestly think that is why Onomah was loaned out. To almost fast track him in to being Dembele’s replacement. A full year playing in the Championship and then faze him like Winks has been this season.

          Wanyama was pretty durable, but seems to have broken down this season. I’ll be curious to see when he comes back if he stays healthy or if he breaks down again. Even without these two, I still think we have a treasure trove of options to choose from. Especially with this new midfield trio that incorporates Dele and Eriksen, but also seems to be behind Sissoko’s improved performances. With his size and strength, if Poch can generate some kind of consistency from him he’ll cause opponents issues.

        • YouShubes 24th October 2017 at 11:55 am #

          Hey Mark I think the Dele Winks Eriksen combo was a nod to how expressive we were under Harry and he could field a fit Huddlestone, Luka and Rafa. Dele is harder to push off the ball and he is willing to track back and be disciplined in that regard. Southgate must be loving how much Poch is helping him by having Dele, Winks (and Dier) become more tactically flexible!

          I see what Ash is saying. Think Mousa esp with 2018 maybe his last world cup will err on the side of caution with his hip. I do feel for Lovren as Can and Henderson do not have the desire/ability/discipline to sometimes sit and hold deep and Liverpool lack the leaders to say to their midfielders we need more protection. We have seen how defensive players once they leave Poch really struggle. His ability to develop a tactical blueprint, get the players to buy into it is incredible. Lovren clearly misses Fonte’s leadership. Soooo glad we have Jan and Toby leading our defence. If it is unlikely the Spaghetti monster will be back before the XMAS a period, I am hoping Levy inserted a call back clause for Josh Onomah

          Against Man U and Real he will be more cautious. The pace sissoko brings vital against Man U. Plus as Mark Noble found out the guy is a monster of man, which in case United try any of of the Jose sneaky fouls they may want to back off from it.

          • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:15 pm #

            I’d like to see Dembele and Wanyama back as they give us options that we will need down the line. We will face some teams where strength on the ball and some physicality is needed and these guys offer us that. Josh Onomah should be next in line for the centre of midfield. Poch doesn’t loan players out that often so this has to have been done with good reason.

  4. ashley collie 23rd October 2017 at 10:59 pm #

    PS Here’s LA Spurs at our patch — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyjRXn2HtgY

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      Wow! Great crowd! Apologies as it went in to spam initially as it contained a link, but thanks for sharing.

      • ashley collie 24th October 2017 at 7:19 pm #

        Right, I had the link in my initial post and it wouldn’t post and I was thinking it was some filter that you have, Mark. No worries…just wanted to give a feel for the passion out here, and it’s only about 20% expat at the most…there were three Persian gents, a Swede, a South African, and a lot of our Yankee Yids! COYMFS!

    • Matt 24th October 2017 at 5:45 pm #

      Loving that LA Spurs passion Ash. And I know from when in LA a couple of years back with family, you do some pretty special IPAs too! Enjoy the forthcoming wins over WHU and MUFC (maybe)!

      • ashley collie 24th October 2017 at 7:20 pm #

        Cheers, Matt, jump onto our LA Spurs FB page and keep in touch, Yiddo!

  5. Bretto 23rd October 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Great post Mark. I hope you are well. It was about time Poch settled the issue with his Spurs teams and Liverpool. A couple of things that came to my mind:
    1. Pochettino may be England’s saviour in developing Winks as neither Henderson nor Oxlade are the passing/dribbling/creative midfielder required for the world cup. Wilshire maybe but it’s debatable whether his body will last that long.
    2. Trips may be coming to terms with his positioning. Trips shouldn’t always push as far up (as Walker did) because of his slower recovery speed. He is more devastating when he chooses his moment to come really high.
    3. On the flip side, Moreno pushing up so high was partly to blame for Lovren being isolated on the right and making the mistakes. I feel for Lovren as he has admitted to carrying an a calf injury and taking painkillers before each game. A very highline is not doing his legs any good.
    4. Liverpool pushed really high (backline were sometimes way up in our half) but persisted despite being torn apart. This was surprising to me. Despite his one goal, Spurs sitting back nullified the threat of Salah as there was little room between the backline and Lloris. I thought they would have sat back a bit, passed around and try to draw Spurs out so they could create enough space for more through balls for Salah.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Some great points Bretto. Poch just continues to manufacture England internationals. The stat floating around about how many players he has coached that are now playing for the national team is ridiculous. Winks’ arrival could be perfect timing for the World Cup – not that England will get beyond the quarter-final stages – but a partnership with Eric Dier could be the England engine room of the future. However, he’ll be twice the player that Jack Wilshere was fabled to be.

      My fear for Trippier is that many will use his lack of blistering pace as a continued reason to beat him down. His attacking play and crossing is superb. He is also a sound defender, but, like Davies, is vulnerable to pace when he gets isolated versus a Martial or Mane. I think this another reason why Poch has comitted top three at the back. Having Alderweireld or Vertonghen just inside gives them cover should they be getting roasted by a speed merchant. The game is really overhauled by lightening quick full backs and wide players, so managers need to come up with contingency plans. Either oppose them with rapid players yourself or create situations where you have an additional body as cover. I think Poch has got both options sorted as he has Rose and Aurier to match up with speed, but knowing Davies and Trippier are vulnerable, a back three to help them out.

      I also felt for Lovren as he was one of the best centre backs in the league under Pochettino. Injuries apart, i think he has been average at Liverpool. I think that it also goes to show how good a coach Poch is, but also how unique his system is and just because a player is excelling in it that he won’t necessarily be a success elsewhere.

      I’m surprised that Liverpool continue with this approach. Opponents will just sit deep against them and play counter attack as they know the Liverpool defence will give up chances. They really need a plan B rather than the full throttle press, turnover, transition game. We’ve also experienced this defend deep approach against us, but Poch, unlike Klopp, has been searching for ways to address it and has been trying different plans out.

      • YouShubes 24th October 2017 at 12:14 pm #

        Mark I know this is petty… but I can’t wait for Walker to find this out!

        I think as at BVB Klopp has been found wanting…why let West Ham sign Fonte when clearly he would have linked up well with Lovren. The same applies to Morgan Schneiderlin.

        PS I think not enough credit is being to Davinson “Dave” Sanchez…he has slotted in really well, and his speed (ok Salah was quicker) is the key to getting the best out Trips and Davies and compensating for their lack of speed

  6. Zaph 24th October 2017 at 7:59 am #

    It’s so complex – I have grown to be amazed by Pochettino’s awareness and systems (and his staff’s insights). Missing and much lauded players – Dier, Dembel, Wynyama all have traits that might have keft us vulnerable against Liverpool,

    Dier reminds me of a classic German machine international, but has two faults – too slow (hence partnership in England midfield is ponderous) and too safe, passing back when there;s an opportunity.

    Dembele is a unique talent but I’m only confident when he has a Dier/Wyyama wall behind him because he’s the classic player that elite teams will target to strip possession in high areas. He’s amazing at recovering – like nobody else – but doesn’t create or score anywhere enough – does make incredible recovery tackles

    Wynyama – yes he’s solid but still has that dozy passing issue – He cost us the Chelsea game
    we’ll see.

    With them all out the tactics were clear – hypotetically if all were available – a different game and — a defeat?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 12:06 pm #

      Its very difficult to say what could’ve or would’ve happened. We’ve had some great performances from Dier, Dembele and Wanyama so its difficult to say if the game would’ve had a different outcome if they’d played. If, for example, Wanyama had burst around the midfield ripping the ball away and roughing up Henderson, Milner, Coutinho et al then we’d have been raving about it and how we’ve missed his physical presence.

      Certain players have their uses in certain situations. Just for example, at Burnley last year, Winks was clearly the wrong player against a narrow, physical midfield. His unfortunate injury meant Dier was shifted in to his midfield spot and this changed the game. This doesn’t make Winks a bad player, just he wasn’t what was required for the situation.

      I think Poch now has the choices he needs to carry out the plans that he and his staff have gained from their insights, which is a very good sign. What i’m encouraged by is the strength in depth that we have and how Poch is using the options available. He is still young in coaching terms, but learning very quickly.

  7. Erik Zen 24th October 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    Stellar analysis as always, and a fine batch of comments as well. A fine class of fans on this site!

    Everything Poch touches seems to turn to gold at the moment, vis a vis his formational and personnel choices. He seems to have elevated as manager significantly. It’s like watching the guy at the pub who beats everyone at chess face a grandmaster. I’m vibrating in anticipation of his matchup with Mourinho, who can be a tactical master on his day, and of course Pep’s monstrous juggernaut.

    Two considerations: I know Mou is famous for sucking the life out of the big games, but why did he give Liverpool so much credit? I know it was at Anfield which is a different proposition, but surely he must have been surprised to see them crumble so easily before Spurs.

    Second: City are going to collapse at some point, like they did last year. Aren’t they?

    Oh, and I bet we lost to Wham in the cup. Give me some of my old self-hating Spursy identity back won’t you? We have to lose some game or other, so might as well be league cup, and allowing the Hammers to have their annual gloat. It’s almost cute by now.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      Mourinho has had a few quotes about winning at home and then not losing away. I guess his bus parking strategy at Anfield was all part of this. He does have a history of defensive smash and grabs at Anfield from his Chelsea days. His team will have to be slightly more aggressive at home. Although I think they are a massively different team without Pogba and this has probably had a shaping on Mourinho’s tactics in other games outside the Liverpool match.

      I hope City have a wobble, but they look extremely good at the minute. Another defensive injury could slow them down as they are looking thin at the back.

      Tomorrow will be West Ham’s cup final and they have it at a traditional cup final venue so expect them to be motivated. They did take Friday night against Brighton off as preparation for the game after all!

  8. Chu2ks 24th October 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Love your analysis as always, Mark. The 5-3-2 was just a perfect fit, with Son instead of Llorente. I’m actually enjoying not being able to predict Poch – remember when they all said he had no plan B, now he has C, D etc?
    I kind of disagree with Onomah, being a Demblele protege of sorts, as I think he’ll be sold, with love, like Ryan Mason. I think Poch will go for Ross Barkley as multi-positional replacement, solving the Dembele and Eriksen conundrum in one.
    I wanted to know what your thoughts are on us going for either Manuel Lanzini or Goncalo Guedes, and Suso. Guedes looks like Poch could make him spectacular.
    (Have a look at my blog thescorpionhorse.wordpress.com)

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 24th October 2017 at 7:14 pm #

      Nice blog! I think Ross Barkley will be the one, but Everton have to lower their asking price, which may happen given their terrible start to the season and he can leave on a free in the summer. I can’t see us going for Lanzini as he’s West Ham, but I also think he’s quite a selfish player. Guedes could be moulded in to something special by Poch, but i’m not sure how gettable he is. PSG have him under contract until 2021 and can’t see them selling having invested heavily in him only in January.

  9. Lennon 25th October 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    Hi Mark

    About Poch on Aurier….he has been giving him some pretty tough assignments..Is he our best man to deal with the Christian Pulisic, Marcelos and Mo Salahs of this world or he could now share the tricky customers with the returning Danny Rose..?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2017 at 6:07 pm #

      Very good question. It looks like that is Poch’s game plan from recent matches. With Rose back I’d imagine he’ll use the pair against speedy customers. What is encouraging is Aurier looked alright on the left, which is good news given Rose’s history of missing chunks of a season. Definitely gives Poch options if he wants to match speed with speed.